The increase in abstinence-only education has prevented our young people from receiving formal education regarding birth control and disease prevention. It is time to stop using programs that are proven to be ineffective at preventing unwanted pregnancy, such as Abstinence-Only Education, and focus on tactics that actually work towards protecting the health and safety of our youth. We need to fund programs that are shown to prevent teen pregnancies and focus on educating our youth on how to use contraceptives to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. If we don’t, we are doing a massive disservice to future generations.
We need to begin providing adolescents with comprehensive sex education, which would include abstinence-only as the only completely safe way of preventing STDs and pregnancy, but would also focus on safe sex and contraception use. Abstinence-only education has typically only focused on teens who have not yet engaged in sexual activity, but we have an ethical and moral obligation to provide sexually active teens with an education regarding their reproductive health. We also need to focus on programs that no longer promote gender stereotypes and address teens who might already have become sexually active due to sexual abuse, sexual violence, or molestation.
The Trump Administration has moved to defund teen pregnancy prevention programs by $200 million dollars while extending funding for abstinence-only education programs in their budget proposal. This is a disastrous move by the Trump administration, and will have long-lasting effects on sexual education programs. In order to work towards preventing sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted teen pregnancies, and abortions, we need to begin providing our young people with the tools necessary to make informed, educated decisions about sex. Abstinence-only education is not effective in preventing teen pregnancies or STDs, and we need to accept that a comprehensive sexual education is the only way to keep our teens safe and healthy.